Sophisticated surveillance system protects George Bush Intercontinental Airport

July 2008 Surveillance

George Bush Intercontinental Airport, located 32 kilometres north of downtown Houston, Texas, is one of the top 10 busiest airports in the US with more than 700 departures daily.

With nine domestic, 12 commercial, 40 cargo, and two charter airlines, it has the highest on-time performance record of any major US airport.

The situation

After the events of 11 September 2001, providing a safe and dynamic air travel infrastructure has increasingly become a top priority. The US Department of Homeland Security offered a $3,5 million dollar grant to the Houston Airport System, comprised of three airports in the surrounding area, to improve security measures. The largest of the three, George Bush Intercontinental Airport, was top priority. It is located between two major roads and has a 48-kilometre perimeter that needs to be surveyed 24/7.

The solution

Honeywell will provide the airport with a first-of-its-kind perimeter and intrusion detection system using radar video surveillance (RVS) and advanced video processing systems (AVPS). The two combined technologies will provide the airport with the most advanced surveillance capabilities of any airport in the US.

RVS, a software system originally developed by Honeywell Aerospace and used to protect ports and track missiles, was adapted for ground use and will be used to monitor the airport's perimeters.

AVPS will monitor and analyse certain behaviours captured by video, and will be deployed in areas where ground-based radar may be obstructed by buildings or towers.

The airport will use a variety of Honeywell cameras, as well as sophisticated fixed and PTZ FLIR thermal cameras that will allow operators to view miles of the airport's perimeter. The cameras will be linked to geospatial maps allowing for easy evaluation of targets detected by both ground-based radar and video analytics. Installation of RVS and AVPS began January 2006 and will be completed in the summer. Both systems will be fully integrated with Honeywell's Digital Video Manager and Pro-Watch system, which are already installed at the airport.

The benefits

The combination of RVS, ground-based radar and video analytics tied into the Pro-Watch/Dgital Video Manager system offers Bush Intercontinental Airport a complete evaluation of its security from AOA to the very edge of the perimeter, all within a single graphical user interface. The Honeywell Security system will complement the airport system's Airport Rangers programme, a badged surveillance team that patrols the airport's 11 000 acre perimeter on horseback, as well as the airport's many other security mechanisms that are already in place. "The best way to achieve a secure airport of our magnitude is not by simply reacting to incidents after-the-fact or by jumping on the latest trend, but by really taking a hands-on approach to understanding the needs of our airports. This new technology provides the right kind of surveillance system we need," says Mark Mancuso, deputy director of public safety for the Houston Airport System.

For more information contact Honeywell Southern Africa, +27 (0)11 695 8000,

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